More Chips, Less Makeup: Consumers Turning to Convenience to Ride Out COVID-19

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Beyond hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, consumers are expected to reach more often for easy meals as they settle in for extended periods of social distancing.
Beyond hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, consumers are expected to reach more often for easy meals as they settle in for extended periods of social distancing.

More Chips, Less Makeup: Consumers Turning to Convenience to Ride Out COVID-19

By Lisa Johnston - 03/23/2020
Beyond hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, consumers are expected to reach more often for easy meals as they settle in for extended periods of social distancing.

Beyond hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, consumers are expected to reach more often for easy meals and snacks as they settle in for extended periods of social distancing.

Analytics firm IRI is tracking the impact the coronavirus is having on consumer goods categories, using data culled from such sources as point-of-sale, loyalty, panel, e-commerce and social media.

The firm said predicted that vitamins, supplements, probiotics and other immune-boosting products will be in demand as consumers place a greater focus on boosting their immunity to stave off the coronavirus. Preventive health care products like vitamin C are trending higher than symptomatic products, according to IRI.

Convenient meals will also be in demand, and food delivery, click and collect, online shopping and home delivery are expected to increase thanks to social distancing. Likewise, indulgences like DVDs, snacks and alcohol are anticipated to increase as consumers spend more time at home.

“While pasta has benefited from panic purchases, anecdotal evidence shows lasagna sheets remain on the shelf, as more labor-intensive meals may not be on the menu,” noted IRI.

Cosmetics, meanwhile, will fall out of favor thanks to telecommuting and reduced socializing. Spring holiday shopping may also take a hit, the firm warned.

When it comes to out of stocks, IRI projected a likelihood across high-demand categories as manufacturers will hone in on top SKUs to meet demand.

“Expect fewer options but satisfactory supply levels of most in-demand products,” IRI said.

As of March 22, the following categories had grown since Feb. 24:

Hand sanitizer: Up 626%
Spray disinfectant: Up 366%
All-purpose cloths: Up 313%
Disposable gloves: Up 188%
Powdered milk: Up 162%
Liquid hand soap: Up 125%
Personal thermometers: Up 124%
First aid ointment: Up 76%
Liquid vitamins: Up 73%
First aid kits: Up 70%

Top out of stock categories included:

General purpose household cleaners: Up 63%
Liquid hand soap: Up 57%
Bleach: Up 48%
Personal thermometer: Up 48%
Wet napkins: Up 46%
Dried beans: Up 33%
Toilet paper: Up 23%
Hand sanitizer: Up 24%

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In addition expanding its digital capabilities to accommodate the consumer shift to e-commerce, the company is also exploring third-party relationships to expand its manufacturing capacity.

Just five short months ago, the consumer goods industry was focused on building a supply chain to support the omnichannel era, focusing on four key areas: demand planning, fulfillment, manufacturing, and last-mile delivery. However, since then the industry has been flipped on its head.